Lust at First Sight, Not Love at First Sight

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It is true that the idea of falling in love with someone is so much appealing to human nature. Whether that is the poetry of the olden times or the songs of the modern times, love is always idealized and glamorized in them. We are bombarded with this idea of “love at first sight” from every direction, especially with the advent of media. In the modern age, love is sold and promoted in every way imaginable. However, people have confused sex with love and they are in no way the same thing. The idea of “love marriage” and “love at first sight” is promoted on TV dramas, movies, songs, social media and Internet. However, real love does not happen, most of the times, at first sight. First sightings are merely for the eye. It is the physical attraction that draws one’s interest in the opposite sex in the beginning, not love. Hence, in the true sense it is “LUST AT FIRST SIGHT”, not “Love at first sight”.

Experience tells us that love and committed relationships are built over time, through mutual care and understanding. It does not happen in a few interactions. On the other hand, lust can begin and end in an instant. Love is long-lasting whereas lust is temporary. Love is patient whereas lust is impatient. Therefore, love and lust must never be confused. It is precisely for this reason that Muslim men and women are commanded to lower their gazes, to protect them from “love at first sight”. Hence, if a Muslim does not restrain his/her glances, it results in the imprinting of an image of what the person sees in his/her heart. This can result in the pollution of the heart of the person. It has been related in At-Tabarani that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said to his companions:

"The glance is a poisoned arrow of Satan. Whoever lowers his gaze for Allah, He will bestow upon him a refreshing sweetness which he will find in his heart on the day that he meets Him." (Tabarani)

Likewise, in another hadeeth, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

"O Ali, do not follow a glance with another, for you will be forgiven for the first, but not for the second."  (at-Tirmidhi)

While explaining this hadeeth in his commentary of at-Tirmidhi, Sheikh Muhammad ibn Abd ar-Rahman al-Mubarakpuri stated:


"The words ‘do not follow a glance with another’ mean you should not look again after the first glance. ‘You will be forgiven for the first’ means that you will be forgiven if the first glance was unintended, and ‘but not for the second’ means that because the second glance was by choice, it will be counted against you."

(Tuhfah al-Ahwadhi bi sharh Jami' al-Tirmidhi)

Also, Jarir ibn Abdullah said in a hadeeth:


"I asked the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) about an accidental glance at a woman. He commanded me to turn my gaze away."


Commenting on this hadeeth, Sheikh al-Mubarakpuri said:


“In this hadeeth, the term ‘accidental’ means his gaze fell on a non-mahram woman unintentionally. ‘He commanded me to turn my gaze away’ means that he was commanded not to look a second time, because the first glance was not by choice and would be forgiven, but any further glances would be counted as sin, and he should heed the words of Allah (interpretation of the meaning): ‘Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things)…’ [Surah an-Nur : ayah 30]”

(Tuhfah al-Ahwadhi)

Thus, Islam does not allow men to deliberately stare at a non-mahram (marriageable) woman. Islam shuts all doors to love at first sight or lust at first sight. It is forbidden to look at any part of her body, whether one thinks she is beautiful or not, whether it provokes sexual desire or not, whether it is accompanied by evil thoughts or not, and whether it leads to immoral deeds or not.



Saheeh Bukhari & Saheeh Muslim – Kitab an-Nikah (The Book of Marriage).  

Al-Mu’jam al-Kabir Lil Tabarani (hadeeth # 10215). This hadeeth narrated by Abdullah bin Masood is also quoted in Majma az-Zawaa’id (vol. 8, pg 66) by Imam Al-Haythami and in Mizanul I’tedaal (vol. 1, pg. 196) by Imam Ad-Dhahabi.  

at-Tirmidhi, hadeeth # 2701. Tirmidhi has graded this hadeeth as hasan and Sheikh Albaani also graded it as hasan in Saheeh al-Jaami’, #7953.  

al-Mubarakpuri, Sheikh Muhammad ibn Abd ar-Rahman (2009) Tuhfah al-Ahwadhi bi sharh Jami' at-Tirmidhi. Dar Ihya al-Turath al-Arabi Lil-Tiba’ah wa-al-Nashr wa-al-Tawzi, Beirut.  

Tirmidhi has graded this hadeeth as hasan (#2700).  

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